Two including a fireman died, several others were injured and several vehicles were vandalised on Saturday afternoon in Panishagar and Kanchanpur subdivisions of North Tripura after the ongoing protests against the resettlement of Bru refugees in the subdivision had flared out of proportion.
According to locals, the protesters who are part of an indefinite strike since last Tuesday had clashed with security forces — Tripura Police and Tripura State Rifles — after the latter allegedly charged with batton and also allegedly shot rounds.
The deceased from the protestor’s side has been identified as Srikanta Das, a 45-year-old who hails from Dasda, about 35 km from the place of the clash.
Though live videos of the personnel from fire services being killed has surfaced, the department could not be reached for comment.
Sushant Bikash Barua a leader of the Joint Movement Committee, a conglomerate of Bengali and Mizo association living in the district that called the strike, said the TSR had open fired on the protesting crowd in front of the Panisagar Holy Cross school, about a few km from the subdivisional headquarters Panisagar.
“The security forces have started firing without any provocation. Two-person were shot there. 4 more civilians have been found injured so far and have been rushed to hospital at Dharmanagar (North Tripura district headquarters),” Barua said.
Meanwhile, police sources said the JMC had called for a blockade of the National Highway 08, the only artery connecting Tripura capital Agartala with the rest of the nation, on Saturday morning.
“Security forces were at place as we couldn’t allow them to blockade the Highway. They had put on tyres and other materials to block the road and burnt those,” police said.
However, the reason for the alleged firing has not be ascertained yet.
There are reports of violent clashes in Pencharthal and other fringes in Kanchanpur sub-division.
Kanchanpur had been seething since Tuesday after prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPc are at place in the subdivision. The protestors demand that not more than 500 families of existing 3,900 Bru families residing in refugee camps be rehabilitated in the subdivision only.